Is gut health linked to rosacea and acne?

New research indicates that gut health is linked to rosacea and acne. Our skin and gut are home to trillions of microbes, which plays a central role in our well-being. These communities of microbes are called our skin microbiome and gut microbiome, and they are essential for skin health.

Understanding the vital role of gut health and skin microbiome in how our skin looks and feels, allows us to better heal common skin concerns such as acne and rosacea.

Scientists are making great progress in understanding how gut health affects acne and rosacea, and there is a raft of exciting new approaches to treating acne and rosacea, if like me, you’ve battled this for many years, using traditional skin care, with limited success.

The focus of this article will be acne and the effect of our gut microbiome and skin microbiome on skin health.

How is gut health linked to rosacea and acne?

A change in the amount or type of microbes can cause inflammation and activate the immune system.

The connection between gut health and rosacea, a chronic inflammatory skin condition, is an area of ongoing research, but there are several proposed mechanisms. Two suggested links between gut health and rosacea incluce:

  • The gut microbiome plays an essential role in regulating our immune system and inflammation throughout our bodies. Imbalances in the gut microbiota, such as an imbalance of beneficial versus harmful bacteria in our gut, can lead to systemic inflammation. This in turn may exacerbate rosacea symptoms – thus causing a link between gut health and rosacea.
  • Certain foods and beverages can trigger or worsen rosacea symptoms in some individuals. These triggers may also affect gut health and microbiota composition. For example, alcohol, spicy foods, and histamine-rich foods are common triggers for rosacea and can also impact gut health.

The gut microbiome is hugely important in the formation of acne lesions. It is also responsible for immunity

Importantly, a healthy microbiome can keep away unhealthy microbes, such as certain bacteria and fungi.

Can probiotics help heal acne?

Probiotics are defined as “live microorganisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host”. The best-known microorganisms with probiotic effects are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.

Probiotics may be used in various product categories such as drugs, cosmetics, dietary supplements, food and food additives. There is no legal regulation of probiotics, so it is important to do your research and choose products that are backed by evidence.

Research shows that the use of probiotics may reduce skin eruptions

Chilicka K, et al, 2022

Probiotics may benefit skin health by:

  • Modifying the microbiome
  • Preventing invasion of harmful microbes
  • Supporting skin barrier function
  • Increase moisture
  • Help lipid production

Lactobacilli spp. and Bifidobacteria spp. have been used as probiotics to treat chronic inflammatory skin diseases.

The most common strains that probiotic cosmetics contain include:

  • Bacillus sabtilis
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus
  • Lactobacillus casei
  • Lactoccocuslactis
  • Lactobacillus plantarum

These probiotics have a deep moisturising effect, stimulating the production of lipids, and repair processes in the epidermis.

Can prebiotics help heal acne?

Both probiotic and prebiotic supplements have been reported to affect our skin and gut microbiome.

Prebiotics are compounds that are not digested by our bodies but are fermented by gut bacteria to produce beneficial compounds.

Short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) are probiotics that can suppress the growth of Cutibacterium acnes, a major cause of inflammatory acne.

An important factor in inflammatory acne is loss of balance between different types of C. acnes

Dreno B, et al, 2020

Emerging research shows that rather than excessive growth of C. acnes per se, an important factor in inflammatory acne is a loss of balance between different types of C. acnes. This combines with dysbiosis of the skin microbiome, meaning an imbalance or disruption in the composition of microorganisms that naturally inhabit our skin.

How does antibiotics affect acne?

Acne is a skin disease linked to inflammation. Using antibiotics or isotretinoin has a negative effect on gut health.

People with severe acne are frequently treated with oral isotretinoin, often with dramatic results, including reduced inflammation. A course of therapy may lead to prolonged remission even in the most severe cases.

Unfortunately, isotretinoin is associated with a wide array of adverse effects, and only practitioners who are experienced with its use should prescribe it.

Summary & top tips to heal inflammatory acne

In summary, gut health affects the way our skin looks and feels. Importantly, our skin microbiome is essential for skin health.

Research is ongoing to further develop microbiome based treatments for chronic inflammatory skin conditions, including acne and rosacea, even ageing!

The use of supplements and probiotic skin care gives hope for the improvement of the skin condition of people with acne

Is gut health linked to rosacea and acne

5 things you can do today to boost your skin and gut microbiome – and soothe rosacea and acne:

  1. Avoid harsh skincare products that can disrupt the balance of beneficial microbes
  2. Eat a gut friendly diet (think plant-rich, Mediterranean style food)
  3. Kefir (drink it or use as a face mask – this is one change that has made a big difference for me!)
  4. Consider a probiotic or prebiotic supplement
  5. Swap traditional for probiotic skincare

NOTE: This does not constitute medical advice. Seek advice from a healthcare professional as needed

Recent posts you might like:

Resources & further reading

Microbiome and Probiotics in Acne Vulgaris—A Narrative Review – PMC (nih.gov)

Skin microbiome in acne vulgaris, skin aging, and rosacea: An evidence-based review Weng YC, Chen YJ – Dermatol Sin (dermsinica.org)

The Skin Microbiome: A New Actor in Inflammatory Acne | American Journal of Clinical Dermatology (springer.com)

2 responses to “Is gut health linked to rosacea and acne”

  1. Free KetoDietRecipes & Guides avatar

    Wow, this blog post is a game-changer! I never realized how much our gut and skin microbiomes could impact acne, rosacea, and aging. Thank you for shedding light on this fascinating topic. Can’t wait to implement your insights!
    Have A Great Day Ahead – Melissa

    Free Keto Diet Recipes – http://www.ketodietrecipes.co.uk

    1. Berit avatar

      Thank you, Melissa, and your keto recipes look great, I will definitely try them! Have a fab rest of the weekend 😀

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